After coming out flat yesterday against the Rangers, the Yankees went for the series win this afternoon in the Bronx. The Yankees sent Chien-Ming Wang, making his first start since returning from injury to the hill against Brandon McCarthy. Wang had looked good in his last few bullpen outings, and the Yankees hoped he would be able to build off of that momentum. The Yankees rested both Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, so Ramiro Pena and Francisco Cervelli both got starts, shortening the Yankee lineup.
Wang looked strong in his first inning of work, striking out Ian Kinsler looking on a 94 mph fastball, getting Michael Young to fly out, and then striking out Hank Blalock on a 1-2 slider. Although he didn’t get any groundball outs in this inning, this was the best he has looked as a starter all season, and the fastball reaching 94 was encouraging.
Johnny Damon got the Yankees going in the bottom of the first with a leadoff home run on a 3-2 count off McCarthy. Obviously, returning to the leadoff spot was no problem for Damon. Nick Swisher, batting 2nd lined a double to left. After Mark Teixeira reached on a dropped fly ball by David Murphy (what is it with guys named Murphy and dropping fly balls?), it looked like the Yankees were preparing for a big inning. However, a baserunning blunder by Teixeira on a flyout by Alex Rodriguez helped to kill the rally, and Robinson Canó hit a bullet that was caught by Chris Davis for the 3rd out. The Yankees had to settle for 1 despite several hard-hit balls off of McCarthy.
Wang retired the side 1-2-3 in the 2nd, with 2 groundouts and a strikeout, but ran into trouble in the 3rd. Chris Davis doubled to left, and after a bunt by Taylor Teagarden, a 2-out wild pitch by Wang on a full count to Kinsler tied the game. Consecutive hits by Kinsler and Blalock plated another run, and suddenly the Yankees trailed 2-1. Wang gave up 2 more runs in the 3rd on a double by Davis, and a 5th run in the 5th on a solo shot by Nelson Cruz with 2 outs. Wang, who lasted just 4 2/3 innings, gave way to Aceves, as the Yankees trailed 5-1 at this point.
In the bottom of the 5th, the Yankees put together a rally against McCarthy, who had gotten into a groove in innings 2-4. It was the bottom of the order who started the rally, as consecutive singles by Cervelli and Pena followed by a Damon walk loaded the bases with no outs for Swisher. Swisher, as he so often does, battled to a full count and drew another walk to force in a run. This brought up Mark Teixeira, and he delivered the big hit, albeit in an unconventional fashion. Teixeira took an awkward swing at a 1-1 changeup by McCarthy and pushed it down the line past Young, and all 3 runners scored, tying the game. Alex Rodriguez, who has been booed recently, silenced the haters with a single to right, giving the Yankees a 6-5 lead.
Aceves gave up this lead by allowing a solo shot to Kinsler, but Aceves, Phil Coke, and David Robertson combined to shut down the Ranger hitters through the 8th inning. In the bottom of the 8th, the Yankees got going against CJ Wilson. Canó drew a leadoff walk off the hard-throwing lefty, and after Matsui flew out to center, Melky Cabrera launched a home run to left, giving the Yankees an 8-6 lead.
After getting into a big of a jam in the 9th, with runners on 1st and 3rd, Mariano Rivera got the job done, striking out the dangerous Cruz and then getting David Murphy to pop up to A-Rod to end the game.
The Dam Busters rip This was a nice comeback win for the Yankees against the team with the best record in the AL. Melky Cabrera is the MVP for his game-winning hit, his 6th hit that has given the Yankees the lead this season (according to YES). Melky is OPS’ing .833 on the season, and he seems to have a knack for coming through in the clutch. Although Wang looked strong in the 1st 2 innings, he definitely struggled in the next 3 innings, losing his command and leaving sinkers up in the zone that could be hit hard. The bullpen did its job relieving Wang, and allowed just 1 run (the Kinsler homer off Aceves) in 4 1/3 innings. Phil Coke, who has struggled of late, deserves praise for pitching 1 2/3 perfect innings, and Robertson earned an easy win by retiring the only batter he faced in the 8th.
If Wang has a few more outings like this, Girardi will have a tough decision to make regarding whether Hughes deserves his spot in the rotation, but Burnett’s suspension and Andy Pettitte’s back will probably delay this conversation. However, it’s hard to be unhappy with a great comeback win.
Completely unrelated to the game, but check out this “interview” of Melky Cabrera conducted by Mary Carey. Funny stuff.
- Chien-Ming Wang looked better than he did in April, but continued to pitch far below his past performance, as he failed to get out of the 5th inning. He allowed 5 runs on 7 hits and a walk, while striking out 5. His velocity was up and his pitches had decent movement, but his location remained off and he allowed a few hard hit balls. While there were a number of seeing eye and flare type of hits, that is the danger with a pitcher who typically pitches to contact. All in all, it was a step in the right direction, but certainly not what the Yankees were hoping for, especially after two perfect frames to start the game. Before anyone complains about the decision to put him back in the rotation, go look at the game logs for Phil Hughes. He has been decent, but let’s not make it like they took Cy Young out of the rotation. Hughes has pitched into the 6th inning twice in 7 starts. If Wang gets rocked his next two times out, then we can reopen the discussion.
- The big inning for the Yankees in this game was the bottom of the 5th. Cervelli and Pena came through for Joe Girardi by singling, and then Damon, who homered earlier, and Swisher both walked. With the bases loaded, Teixeira then hit a grounder over the 3rd base bag that got past Young and plated all three runs. A-Rod then came through with a RBI single, quieting the idiotic boos that faced him in his earlier at bats.
- Nick Swisher is on fire, going 2-3 with a double and a bases loaded walk. Joe Girardi made a strange decision in the 7th, pinch running for Swish with Gardner after a leadoff single. I felt that it was a bit early to pull a hot hitter in a tie game, and it became stranger still when Gardner did not steal and Tex promptly hit into a double play.
- The Yankee bullpen did a great job, going 4.1 innings and allowing just 1 run. Aceves did allow a game tying home run to Ian Kinsler, but the Yankees bullpen was great after that. Phil Coke, in particular, attacked hitters and struck out 2 of the 4 batters he faced.
- Melky Cabrera won the game with a 2 run homer into the front row in left with Cano on base in the bottom of the 8th. Melky has looked a bit weak at the plate in the last few days, but he came through in the clutch once again and helped the Yankees notch the come from behind victory and take the series. Melky seems determined to extend his excellent play deep into the summer, a development that makes the Yankees lineup incredibly deep.
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TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees